Skip to comments.'It's Time the French Quit Bashing British Food'
Posted on 10/26/2013 3:42:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Are the French developing a secret fondness for British cuisine? And will they ever admit it? Paris-based blogger Naomi Firsht explores this spikey issue in the first of a new series that will see The Local France team up with some of the many talented bloggers in France, as they share their musings on life in our adopted country.
Having lived in France for five years, the number of times Ive heard my home cuisine insulted by a French person is too high to count.
It seems to be wired into their DNA: French food is the best in the world (mais bien sur!) and British fare isnt fit for an animal to eat. Tell a Frenchman there is no English expression for Bon appétit and he will almost unfailingly reply, They just say Bonne chance! (Good luck) to the hoots of laughter of any fellow countrymen listening.
Well, Enough! I cry! I have done my best to undo French stereotypes by earnestly reporting to friends and family in the UK that French women do shave their armpits and no, no-one smells of garlic or onions Parisians do wear a lot of striped tops though, that one is true.
So now its time for the French to admit how much they really like British grub, because they do.
A couple of years ago, when Marks & Spencer opened on the Champs Elysées, there was a queue to enter for the first three weeks.
These people were not queuing for the Per Una collection. They wanted scones, cheddar cheese and pork sausages, and guess what? Most of them were French. They love our pies, sandwiches, bread and Victoria sponges; they just dont like to admit it
Or do they?
SEE ALSO: M&S opens new Paris store amid expansion
Following hot on the heels of the New York burger craze in Paris, its the humble British fish & chips that is taking the French capital by storm.
Chic restaurants all over town are offering a Very British (pronounced Verrry Briteesh) fish & chips on their menu. Some even go so far as to offer mushy peas on the side.
French magazine A Nous dedicated a whole feature to the British culinary craze this month, calling it the Royal baby effect. In it they listed no less than five popular Paris restaurants who have added fish & chips to their daily menu. And I could name at least five more!
The last few months have seen the advent of a fish & chips truck, the Daily Wagon, and the opening of the very first fish & chip shop in Paris, The Sunken Chip, based in the trendy Canal Saint Martin area.
Whilst its definitely more of a fish & chips restaurant than genuine chippy the French arent quite prepared for that yet the grub certainly gets top marks for authenticity, thanks to its British chefs.
Fat chunky chips, crispy battered haddock and mushy peas with mint are served in a cardboard dish with disposable wooden knives and forks. Jars of pickled eggs line the back wall and bottles of Sarsons vinegar sit on every table, ready for liberal dousing.
And just who is enjoying salt n' vinegar chips and pickled eggs? When I was there, the tables were full and there was a steady flow of take-away customers. In all I counted two English people, including me, the rest were French.
So ok, the French are definitely pro-batter, but what about the rest of our fine British cooking? Has anything else made it across the Channel? Of course it has. The latest trend in new Paris cafés is small New York style coffee shops that serve, amongst other baked goods, fresh scones with jam.
Fusion food and British-inspired dishes are also becoming more commonplace in the French capital.
Le Bal Café in the 18th arrondissement is a perfect example of an Anglo-French blend. Run by two chefs, one English, the other French-Irish, the menu is British-based and includes Welsh rarebit, kippers on toast, scones and porridge.
I went for brunch and once again found the restaurant bursting with Parisians all chowing down on fry-ups and bacon pie.
It looks to me like its time to stop the British food bashing. No-ones saying that our national gastronomy is better than that of France (quelle idée!) but its not all baked beans on toast in Blighty, we do have some culinary tricks up our sleeves.
The next time one of my Gallic friends has something witty to say about my home cuisine, I shall force them to eat their words along with their steak and kidney pie.
If the French have the best food, how come they didn’t invent pizza?
-The food is British
-The cars are French
-The police are German
-The lovers are Swiss
...and the whole thing is run by Italians
Bacon. Bacon is the best food.
I have heard it described as France having the best cooks, but Italy having the best food.
Y SHOULD THEY QUIT BASHING BRITISH FOOD? IT SUKS!
Sorry. I don’t have any respect for the French. However, they do have the best food. And the British do have some of the worst, and most unimaginative food.
Fish and chips! Seriously?
Having taken several trips to Britain and Ireland, I can reliably say the British fish and chips are the best. They do serve them with mushy peas (delicious) which are usually not found in American fish dinners. Cornish pasties are also delicious. (I’ve got to try Devon pasties sometime. There’s a rivalry between Cornwall and Devon as to who has the best pasties.)
The French, Parisians in particular, have periodic waves of fascination with peculiar things foreign to them. I recall over a decade ago, they fell in love with pumpkins and had the Champs Elysees lined from one end to the other with Jack O’Lanterns. So, the English would do well not to get too excited, it’s le trendy, fickle and fleeting by nature.
It’s always appropriate to bash British food.
I’ve always gotten a kick out of Americans who look down their noses at British food. Those of us of Scots-Irish heritage — a substantial percentage — grew up eating mostly the same stuff.
Well, without the eel, of course.
And the haggis.
Well, yes. That, too, didn't seem to make the ocean crossing for some reason. Heh.
“Those of us of Scots-Irish heritage a substantial percentage grew up eating mostly the same stuff.”
I’ve never had the Haggis Laddie! Of course I was raised in the South and down there it was BACON!!!!
I understand that the French have been eager consumers of food provided by a famous Scottish restaurant. In fact, this Scottish cuisine is readily available in the U.S. as well.
It is called, “McDonalds”.
“Those of us of Scots-Irish heritage a substantial percentage grew up eating mostly the same stuff.”
Ah, hold the BLOOD pudding and the BLOOD sausage please. Any my mom’s fried potatoes never left a puddle of grease on my plate.
I actually ate the haggis at a Robert Burns dinner several years ago. I thought it wasn’t bad. Perhaps I should try it again sober and see how it tastes...
We were on a tour of Scotland and haggis was on the menu. I follow my Dad’s policy of trying anything, and the haggis wasn’t bad. Although the Scottish waitor gave me a funny look...
OK, OK. I was talking mostly about the beef, the mushy vegetables, and the eggs and bacon. Mostly the mushy vegetables and the beef and the eggs and bacon.
I spent a few days in Britain, and had a hard time finding anything decent to eat. It was all fish and chips.
The blood sausage is really good stuff if you like black pepper.
French food is for people with no teeth.
I attended a banquet held at the end of a medical team competition in England. The main course was pork chops.
Mine was so tough I broke a molar trying to chew the first bite. The next day I had to fly back to Alaska. It was Memorial Day weekend so I couldn’t see a dentist for 5 days. Judging by the local teeth I saw over there I don’t think there are any dentists in England at all.
Ah yes, British food...
No fish & chips, nor bangers & mash, but traditional meat dishes, potatoes, roasts, lamb, pork, gravys, tasty traditional british breakfasts, and wonderful desert carts. No complaints. All well done. Tasty. It made me wonder why their reputation was so bad. I suppose because of the relative simplicity of the dishes compared to the saucy french.
Speaking of which, I finally got a job.
I’m working for St. Halibut’s Fish and Chips.
Right now, I’m just a Chip Monk, I’m hoping to work my way up to Fish Friar, and with luck, some day maybe even up to ...
Lord of the Fries!
“... and the haggis wasnt bad. Although the Scottish waitor gave me a funny look...”
Why anyone would think that the ground organs of a sheep mixed with oats and boiled in said sheep’s stomach is anything but delicious I do not understand.
After 5 or 6 shots of Scotch whiskey toasting Robert Burns I could have eaten anything... and I think I did!
You’re right. What was I thinking?
...Valerie Rosas is standing in a kitchen, carefully cutting little pieces of meat with a chef's knife on a disposable cutting board...It's human placenta...Rosas is a placenta encapsulationist which means she helps transform the organ expelled after childbirth into something edible:...Sara Pereira, who has encapsulated more than 800 placentas,...stresses the importance of communication with clients..."It's becoming so widespread...," Pereira says...Rosas says..."Your own body made it, it's just for you," she says. "No one could prescribe anything more perfect than what your body has made for you."
It’s about time that jughead English prince stopped bashing American food (and American anything else).
It was W. Somerset Maugham who wrote that if you wanted to eat well in England, you needed to eat breakfast three times a day. That was a long time ago but I don’t things have changed all that much since.
I don’t know what British food was like 50 years ago, but its is great now. Everything imaginable is available and great fusion cuisine
Say what you like, but French cars last forEVER. (lol oh wait. Maybe that’s why you said hell.)
...a famous Scottish restaurant. In fact, this Scottish cuisine is readily available in the U.S. as well. It is called, McDonalds.
Wouldn’t that be Irish? It’s “Mc”, which is why Irish immigrants to America were often referred to as “Micks”.
I think it’s the “Mac”s that are the Scots.
Of course, in my genealogy serchin’ I found there was a lot of migration between Scotland and Ireland, so I guess either of them could be of either nationality.
Gallic food does not agree with me.
British, Irish, um - no Scot experience to evaluate, Italian, German, um - no on Iberian food, yes on Slavic and Romani, but nothing from the Land of Gaul interests me.
It was THEY who foisted upon the rest of the world, that eight-inch blade, that for many, including myself here, is too darn big and cumbersome. The standard G.I.-blade is no more than 7 1/4 inches long. (Why else would all those smaller plastic-covered knives on QVC always sell out?)
I don’t think I could order ‘spotted dick’ with a straight face.
“Its always appropriate to bash British food.”
Well, seriously, the Brits don’t give you a lot to work with. Once you get past the fish and chips and then the bangers and mash..........your pretty much left with various blood dishes and intestines.
“It is called, McDonalds...”
Tut, tut. That would be a Royale with Cheese and plenty of mayonnaise to go with your French Fries.
“Theres a rivalry between Cornwall and Devon as to who has the best pasties”
So they have strip joints too. Cool!
The police are British
The engineers are German
The chefs are French.
The police are German
The engineers are French
The chefs are British
When I visited England in the 1960's, there was a chain of hamburger eateries called Wimpy--and that was an apt description of British hamburgers. On the other hand, I enjoyed subcontinental cuisine--curries, somosas, tandoori dishes, etc. on my last visit to England in the 1980's.
Ukrainian borscht with black bread and ice cold vodka that will get your motor humming!
You are right. The original McDonald brothers were Irish. I was thrown off by the Big Mac, and “Old MacDonald”.
I don't recall blood sausage being peppery (I cannot eat black pepper), but I do recall that the flavor was extremely intense and rather unpleasant. I tried it in France.
I remember seeing a Wimpy's when I lived in France in the 1970s. I never was tempted to try it, I think the name put me off.
BTW, I like your screen name. We had a very nice family vacation in Fiji a year ago, and would dearly love to visit again.